In this forthright and entertaining memoir, Aberdonian Fergus Davidson looks back on his experiences during World War II.
He enlisted at the outbreak of war in 1939 with a cavalry regiment, The Scottish Horse, in which he served as a cavalryman until the opportunity presented itself for him to volunteer for transfer to the RAF.
He was soon training to become a pilot – a boyhood dream come true – although a daunting prospect at that time. After earning his wings he was posted to 534 Squadron at RAF Tangmere, where he flew a 1000-horsepower Hawker Hurricane, a very different steed from his previous one-horse-power mount.
He flew numerous night missions from Tangmere before being transferred to 91 Squadron, based at RAF Hawkinge on the Kent coast, from where he flew photoreconnaissance missions over the Channel.
He was soon on the move again, having volunteered for overseas service and in 1943 found himself on a ship bound for Algiers and thence to Malta, where he was to join 229 Squadron, equipped with Supermarine Spitfires and charged with protecting the island from enemy attack. Here Fergus took part in many aerial escapades before his luck ran out and he was forced to bale out of his stricken aircraft over enemy territory.*
He was captured, interrogated and transferred to a prisoner of war camp in Germany – Stalag Luft 6 – where he was to spend all but the final months of the war, when he and his fellow POWs would be faced with a final marathon of endurance as they were force-marched hundreds of miles in atrocious winter conditions by their captors to prevent the POWs from being liberated by the advancing Allied forces. Fergus suffered 26 bayonet wounds during this time but miraculously survived and eventually returned to his home in Aberdeen where, after the war, he joined the police force and became a prominent police officer in Aberdeenshire.
Fergus is a natural storyteller and his recollections of his truly remarkable wartime experiences are delivered with a dry wit and an eye for detail which will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.